a "low-tech" improvement idea:
Add more gameplay hints for the worst known screw-ups.
For example, the little voice at the back of my head tells me (You alone cannot defeat them. Run for the jump point.)
The "use glide" hint in the Kinney mission shows how it could be done technically.
It's a kludge, but better than the alternative, that I find out a certain Corvette, which should be easy prey according to past experience is now protected by Kilrathi scripting magic and thus indestructible (the "Bloodmist" mission).
Or, a bit earlier when the battlefleet gets almost wiped (Behemoth): (remember to survive)
as the orders to "protect the battlefleet" shouldn't be taken too literally.
There is more than enough content for the average player (IMHO) without replay grinding.
Some nice ideas, but I think one of the reasons among many others that such were not commonly included, is to keep the game closer to the original series, which didn't have such hints either. Part of the challenge of Wing Commander series and Wing Commander Saga, is that you do have to make choices, then live with the consequences. As a result, each pilot should experience growth in judgement as they proceed through the game. Growth is one of the many benefits of this type of game over so many of the modern games that help you not to fail.
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>> that you do have to make choices, then live with the consequences. As a result, each pilot should experience growth in judgement
well... choice # 1: Read the dialogue or ignore it to maximize kitty-whacking rate. Correct answer: The latter, if the dialogue contains the word 'bomber' or 'missile'. Of course, you know this only after paying attention to the dialogue. Well, that's life: Sometimes you lose. Sometimes the other guy wins.
choice # 2: Be coward or hero? Correct answer: Coward. There are plenty of infinite-respawn situations where putting up a desperate fight is guaranteed to get you killed. Simply run and hide and let the problem take care of itself. Remember, your wingmen are either immortal or unimportant.
The exception is if bombers approach a capship, here your presence is requested. But all over all, any flight deck (that includes Kilrathi ships) is a safe, cozy place.
The main decision here is to balance armor plus countermeasures against boredom.
choice # 3: Attack bombers or fighters? Correct answer: Whatever red dot is closest. It doesn't matter, as fighters will distract capships' point defenses, which would otherwise kill bombers or missiles. Either achieves exactly the same but any attempts at tactical cleverness that involve unproductive commuting from one group to the next waste valuable time. Also, bombers are armed to the teeth and will kill you if your flying style is inappropriate. See next choice.
choice # 4: What flying style for the situation Correct answer: The same under all circumstances, which is "none at all" (on default difficulty). Use afterburner and Shelton slide (if available) in brief bursts that don't interfere with your shooting. Try to imitate a drunk mosquito. It ain't rocket science.
All over all, what I do have now is a better grasp on game "rules" that defy intuition. But I wouldn't consider that growth. Technically, auto-aim in the last Excalibur missions has probably wiped out any skill I may have developed earlier while still having to aim for myself.
That said, it was fun, don't get me wrong. And take the above comments with a grain of salt.
After all, computer games are all about creating the illusion that I'm good at something (i.e. better not expect that a real car has anything in common with the liberal re-interpretation of physics in Need For Speed...).
Besides games, there are simulations, where we really need similar skills to real life, but those aren't nearly as entertaining.
No, the intention with my proposal (to give some more guidance) is to prevent the player from accidentally making decisions that cause him to run off the carefully prepared stage, so to say.